Letter: Treat young for mental health

About 20 percent of children nationwide have mental

About 20 percent of children nationwide have mental health disorders, a problem that has been escalating for more than a decade, federal health officials reported. (Credit: Istock)

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It is unfortunate for the nation's children that the Centers for Disease Control's findings on child mental health problems were predicted in 2000 in then-Surgeon General David Satcher's report, "Conference on Children's Mental Health: Developing a National Action Agenda."

In that report, it was estimated that 1 in 10 children and adolescents suffer from some form of "mental illness severe enough to cause some level of impairment." Evidence was also reviewed that indicated that rate would rise by 50 percent worldwide by 2020. It appears the U.S. rate has doubled in 13 years.

Even more troubling was the finding that only 1 in 5 of the affected children received any mental health care. It is way past time to correct this gap and ensure the future mental health of our children. We must fund more training programs for mental health professionals at the federal level and expand access to local services in schools, clinics and other community-based organizations.

Gloria S. Rothenberg, Merrick

Editor's note: The writer is a psychologist.

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